When publishing your research results, you have to consider copyright law.
Publishers might ask you to transfer your copyright or will ask fees when you want to use copyrighted material in your work. On this page you will find information about how to act when you are approached by publishers or organisations like the Copyright Clearance Center or Rightslink and how to consider copyright law when you are about to publish your research results.
What should I do when I am asked to transfer my copyrights to a publisher?
During a paper submission process, the publisher may ask you to transfer your copyrights to them. This is a common request. However, copyright transfer is not always justified. If you have questions about the forms you have to fill in, please contact either the Copyright Information Point through the contact button or the legal officers of your Science Group.
If you intend to publish research that is financed by calls as of January 2021 from funders that implemented Plan S, please make sure that you comply with their regulations. If you publish your article in a subscription journal, you may need to comply with their Rights Retention Strategy. You are allowed to negotiate about retaining copyright or the right to use your work for further research and educational purposes as well as the right to publish the paper later as a chapter in your PhD thesis. You can use the model contract developed by the Dutch Universities.
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How do I fill in a "standard licence" or a "publication agreement" form from a publisher?
Submitting these forms means that you have concluded an agreement with the publisher. In the agreement, you give the publisher permission to publish the article under the conditions stated in the form. How you should complete the form largely depends on the agreements that have been made regarding the publication of your work, for example in a research agreement with a client or a in PhD contract.
In general, copyright on a publication written by a WUR employee as part of his or her normal work activities belongs to WUR. If you need to list who owns the publication resulting from research at WUR, write the following: “I am an author and contributed to this article in the course of my employment. My employer is an owner of the publication and holds all or some of the copyright”. Remember that Wageningen University is a “non-US / non-UK government entity” and Stichting Wageningen Research is a “private” or “non-government” entity.
The legal department of your science group can help you with filling in the publisher agreements. They can also help you to choose the most suitable Creative Commons-licence for your publication, when applicable.
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What is Copyright Clearance Center?
Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) is a company based in the USA. It provides collective copyright licensing services by acting as an agent between academic publishers and institutions or authors. When submitting a manuscript to a journal, you may be notified by CCC that you have to pay for using a figure or text (see question: What should I do when I am aksed to pay for the usage of copyrighted materials by organisations like CCC/RightsLink?). To pay this fee, you may be asked to create a RightsLink account (see question: Does WUR Library has a RightsLink account?).
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What should I do when I am asked to pay for the use of Copyrighted materials by organisations like Copyright Clearance Center (CCC)/RightsLink?
When submitting a manuscript to a journal, you may be asked to pay for the use of copyrighted material in your manuscript, for example, a figure. In general, you do not have to pay this fee because you have the right to cite (see question: May I cite images or videos?). When you are requested to pay, you need to write the journal and explain that you have the right to cite and do not have to pay for using copyright protected material. If you have questions, please contact the legal officers of your Science Group.
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Does WUR Library have a RightsLink account?
When you are contacted by the Copyright Clearance Center, you sometimes need a RightsLink account to pay your fees. According to Dutch copyright law, you do not have to pay a fee for using copyrighted materials in your publication (see question: what should I do when I am asked to pay for the use of copyrighted materials by organisations like CCC/RightsLink?). If you still need to log-in at RightsLink, you have to create an account. WUR Library does not have a RightsLink account. If you have further questions about RightsLink, please contact the legal officers of your Science Group.
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What should I do when Copyright Clearance Center or someone else asks permission to use copyrighted materials of WUR authors?
WUR authors may be asked permission to use their publications. The requestor may be the Copyright Clearance Center or another organisation or individual. If you receive a request, please contact the legal officers of your Science Group.
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Does WUR have an Open Access Policy for publishing articles in journals?
WUR has an Open Access policy, updated in October 2020 by the Executive Board. Open Access publishing is required for (a) peer-reviewed articles if you are a corresponding author from WUR, (b) conference proceedings and (c) PhD theses. In all other situations Open Access publishing is encouraged. More information about the WUR Open Access policy can be found here. You can make the publication freely available through one of the Open Access publishing routes.
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I am asked to publish my article Open Access by using the Taverne Amendment. What is it and how does it work?
The Taverne Amendment is laid down in article 25fa of the Dutch Copyright Act. This provision allows researchers to share short scientific works (e.g. scientific articles, book chapters in an edited collection or a conference publications) within a reasonable period after the first (online) publication, regardless of any restrictive publisher’s guidelines, but with a reference to the source of the first publication of the work. Thus the provision provides an easy way of sharing your initially closed work quickly. This means your work could be available sooner to a broad audience, potentially increasing its impact. Making your work available under the Taverne Amendment may also be a simple way of meeting the requirements of a research funder. WUR has a standardized process for making your short scientific works available in the WUR repository. For this, you need to fulfil a few conditions for participation.
Information about the workflow can be found here, please scroll down to the last part of the webpage. You can fill in the online participation form and select your preference per publication. More Frequently Asked Questions regarding Taverne are answered on the bottom of this webpage.
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Does WUR have specific guidelines for authorship and citations in publications?
In 2020, WUR revised its guidelines on authorship, affiliations and citations. The guidelines are based on reporting results and assessment and peer review as outlined in the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (2018).
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Does WUR have a policy for publishing PhD theses?
According to the WUR Open Access policy, PhD theses need to be published open Access. However, a thesis can be embargoed for 1 year if the articles in the thesis are not yet published. If needed, the embargo can be extended. An embargo can also be applied for special interests, such as commercial interests in the case of a patent application. If you would like to have an embargo on your thesis, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: You need to ask for an embargo. It is not automatically placed on your thesis. For more information, see the WUR Library webpage on publishing parts of your thesis. You can find more information on the procedure on the PhD thesis submission page.
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Does WUR have a policy for publishing MSc theses?
WUR intends to make publicly available all master theses that receive a final grade of 6 or higher. They should be placed in MSc thesis online. In some cases, WUR may not make a thesis publicly available even though it has a final grade of 6 or higher. If this occurs, the thesis assessment form should explain why the thesis is not publicly available and how long it should not be publicly available.
The thesis agreement or the thesis assessment form should state that the thesis should or should not be made available open access in the WUR repository. WUR is currently revising its policy for publishing MSc theses.
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Do I need to consider copyright law when publishing a dataset?
Yes, WUR owns the copyright of all datasets created by its employees. Furthermore, the copyright of students and non-WUR PhD candidates may be transferred to WUR as part of an agreement. WUR research data policy requires that all research data for a scientific publication must be available for at least 10 years. Publishers may also encourage you to publish your dataset. On the Wageningen Data Competence Center Data Management website, you can find more information about Research Data Management and how to publish a dataset. Dutch copyright law does not always allow you to openly share your dataset. If your dataset contains copyrighted material or if the database itself is protected by copyright, you need written permission from the copyright owner to publish this data. See our page on Copyright and Research Data for more information.
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Do I need to consider copyright law when publishing a non-peer reviewed publication?
Yes, in principle WUR owns the copyright on all publications written by its employees (see question: Who owns copyright on research reports and publication?). Furthermore, the project contract or funding policies might determine that a third party (and not WUR) has the copyright (see question: Who owns copyright on works that are created with others? and What is joint ownership?). Only the copyright owner has the right to express, publish, copy or re-use the work. Still, researchers have to make many copyright-related decisions, e.g., do I have to state something about copyright in a disclaimer, can I always share my presentation with the world through a repository etc.
If you want to publish a non-peer reviewed publication and share it with the world, please:
- determine who owns the copyright. In most case this is not the researcher (see page Ownership & licences).
- determine if you are allowed to publish and share the publication in a repository. Check the project contract, funding policies, or ask the project leader, the legal department of your science group or the science group director.
decide what information to include in the publication's disclaimer. If you are allowed to publish and share the publication, you have the following three options for disclaimers:
- Provide no copyright information on copyright: the publication is still copyright protected and people may not copy or publish your publication without permission. There are, however, several exceptions. For instance, citing is allowed as well as private use of your note, or the use of parts of the note in education.
- State “all rights reserved” and who owns the copyright: the publication is still copyright protected and people may not copy or publish your publication without permission. There are, however, several exceptions. For instance, citing is allowed, as well as private use of your note, or the use of parts of the note in education.
State who owns the copyright and include a general licence that allows for reproduction and (re)publication of your work by third parties.
- This can be done through a CC-licence (see question: What is a Creative Commons licence? and If I want to make my research output available under a CC-licence, what CC-licence should I choose?).
- This can be done by writing your own licence (see question: What is a licence?).
Upon publishing my PhD thesis, am I allowed to publish a chapter as a journal article?
If you submit manuscripts (chapters of your PhD thesis) to a journal after your thesis has been submitted and made publicly available through Wageningen University & Research PhD theses, explain to the publisher that the manuscript is based on thesis work. You can do this either in your submission e-mail or within the acknowledgement section of your article.
If you do not explain beforehand that the manuscript is based on thesis work, you may receive an e-mail from the publisher that your manuscript cannot be accepted because of plagiarism. In this case, contact the publisher and explain your situation. If you need help, please contact your science group's legal advisors.
Another option is to place an embargo on your thesis before you submit it by sending an e-mail to email@example.com to request this embargo. During the 1-year embargo, your thesis will not be available online and will not appear in plagiarism-detection software. You may also extend the embargo if required.
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After publishing a journal article, may I include this article in my PhD thesis?
During the paper submission process, you may be asked to transfer your copyright to the publisher. If you must transfer all your rights, it is important to retain the right to publish this article as a chapter in your PhD thesis or the right to use this article in education. If you did not arrange this with the journal during the paper submission process, it will depend on the journal if you may publish the article as a thesis chapter. Please check the publisher’s copyright statement or the contract you have signed to see if you may publish the paper in your thesis. In some cases, you may publish the paper’s post print or pre-print version in your thesis. On the SHERPA/RoMEO website, you can check if you may publish the paper in your PhD thesis.
I accidently submitted an manuscript to a predatory journal, what should I do?
If you accidently submitted your manuscript to a predatory journal and your article is published online this may cause reputation damage as well as losing the possibility to publish this article in a legitimate journal. In such case, it is crucuial that you contact the predatory journal as soon as possible to demand rejection of the publication. Your science group's legal advisors can you help you in such a case. They can help you in dealing with unexpected invoices, rejection and possible withdrawal fees, in contacting the predatory publisher and any legal advice you may need. If you do not know where to start, please send the CIP an e-mail and we will advise on the best course of action and refer you to the right contact person. WUR Library has put together an information sheet with a thorough overview to help recognise a predatory journal/publisher.
If your article is republished by a predatory journal, please refer to the next question.
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What should I do if a predatory publisher publishes an article that was already published?
It might happen that a predatory publisher re-publishes an article by you. This can be legitimate in case your article was published with an open access licence and all licence conditions are respected (see question: Can I prevent the re-use of my article published under a CC-licence?). However, re-publication may also be unlawful. If so, it is recommended to contact the original publisher to discuss further steps, such as demanding the removal of the copied publication. If you need help, please contact the CIP. We will advise about the subsequent steps and, if required, will act promptly by contacting the predatory publisher. If you need advice on possible reputation damage, please contact your science group's legal advisors.
If you accidently submitted your manuscript to a predatory journal, please refer to the previous question.
Last updated on 04/01/2022.